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For the first time since 1990, the U.S. Department of Agriculture has updated its Plant Hardiness Zone Map.
Plant hardiness zone designations represent the average annual extreme minimum temperatures. Low temperature during the winter is a crucial factor in the survival of plants, according to the USDA.
LaRue County is among the areas that have been upgraded for planting temperatures due to the overall warming trend. Although that probably won’t make that much difference to gardeners, according to LaRue County Extension Agent David Harrison.
LaRue County is now in Zone 6b (average low temperature of -5 to 0).
“This appears to be a change from the 1990 map which shows us in Zone 6a (-5 to -10 degrees),” said Harrison. “(It’s) probably not much practical difference, except it indicates plants would be slightly less winter hardy. Either is cold as far as I am concerned.
In general, the map is one 5-degree zone warmer than the previous map.
The map, which includes 13 zones, is available at www.planthardiness.ars.usda.gov. It incorporates a “find your zone by ZIP code” function.
Anyone may download the map free of charge from the Internet onto their personal computer and print copies as needed, according to the USDA website.
Images of national, regional and state maps have also been included to ensure the map is accessible to those who lack broadband Internet access.